Archive for the ‘Coal’ Category


The hall of the parliament building in Ottawa

It does make a difference to your wages if you work on a Canadian metal or diamond or fossil fuel mine.  Here are some numbers to highlight the differences.  I quote from the new CostMine 2014 Survey Results- Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits.

Here are some average wages by mined commodity in Canadian dollars per hour.  The first number is for metal mines; the second for diamond mines; and the third for fossil fuel mines.

  • Surface electrician = 38.47/31.43/ 40.50
  • Surface mechanic = 37.05/26.45/40.20
  • Dragline/Shovel operator = 35.08/46.33/39.33
  • Truck driver = 31.32/28.77/34.20
  • Underground laborer = 26.11/29.26/25.84
  • Surface laborer = 26.59/28.28/29.14

Clearly you earn more on the oil sands and coal mines.

The number that jumps out to me is the wage for dragline/shovel operators on diamond mines–$46.33 per hour.  Wonder what the truth is behind this number.  Some insight when you examine the ranges for a dragline/shovel operator;

  • Metal mines = 27.80 to 41.56
  • Diamond mines = 44.61 to 48.04
  • Fossil fuel mines = 32.91 to 58.40

Nearly $60 per hour for at least one shovel operator on an oil sands mine in Alberta!!  Maybe more than my salary as a blogger/consultant.  Sure they deserve it, for I but talk and they work hard in hard circumstances.

And if you are wondering about the difference between those working on union versus non-union mines, it looks like in all categories, in all commodities, that the guy at the non-union mine earns about one to five dollars more per hour than the guy at the union mine.  Is this how it is supposed to be?

Let me know–for these are all averages and maybe the individual story is different.


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At this link is a New Yorker article that I read today.  Read it and no comment from me is needed.  It tells of the dark side of mining coal and the Republican corruption and blindness that is West Virginia.  A terrible story that is frightening to contemplate as reality elsewhere. (more…)

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It is twenty below here in southeastern Iowa.  The same as the reported temperature in Fort McMurray.  Here everything is mostly shut down.  So we stay in doors and avoid discussions about politics.   Instead  of trying to records things here—which would just offend somebody—I repeat this from an email, and use it as a way to express sympathy with the families of those who died in mining last year. (more…)

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Here is how one source describes the spill:

About 100 employees and contractors working for Sherritt [International Mine] are at the site trying to determine how a wall in the containment pond was breached, propelling a plume of clay, coal dust, dirt, sandstone and shale through two creeks and into the Athabasca River. The company couldn’t say Monday when the walls were last inspected. (more…)

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Yesterday evening we had a fine dinner and then to The Railroad Club to listen to live music and dance some.  I got drunk, so left the car in the office parking and took a cab home. Today I rode my bike down to the SeaBus and hence to the office to collect my car.  For years I have safely navigated the gravel path beneath the bridge.  Today, for no good reason, I kept to the left as I came around the blind corner.  As luck would have it there was another cyclist coming the other way.   I hit the brakes, slammed into him, and as the front wheel brakes took before the back wheel brakes, went over the handle bars. No great harm except torn skin on the right knee and some pains in otherwise places. (more…)

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POV in MSHA terminology stands for Pattern of VIolations.  Another new mining-related term for me.  I came across this terminology today in a email from MSHA noting in part: (more…)

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I never, well hardly ever, post the writings of others on this blog. Except when I quote whole scale from a report I like. (more…)

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One of the miracles of the free-market system is that when one person sells a share, there is another who is buying.  Who are the current buyers when all are seemingly selling? (more…)

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In response to a request from Amy Shenker, I post the following from a news release she sent me.  I post this willingly as the story is so sad and yet so illustrative of current issues in the U.S. coal mining industry.  (more…)

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A miner who believes he rightfully blew the whistle on his employers is now the center of a nasty litigation marathon—see this link.  A part of the story says this: (more…)

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